The evolution of the European photovoltaic market

Photovoltaics could meet up to 12% of the EU electricity needs by 2020, provided that policy makers become aware of its potential and its benefits and consequently commit themselves to its development. In this case, solar energy PV could be competitive in about ten years from now in approximately 76% of the European electricity market, even in the absence of any form of further price support or subsidy.

This was stated in the Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics until 2014, compiled by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA). Nevertheless, the latter admits that – in the current pre-competitive phase – market deployment is, to a great extent, dependent on the support schemes that will be granted by each given country.

The first assessment (the moderate scenario) foresees that – in the EU – 33,560 MW will be installed over the next five years, as follows: 6,290 MW in 2010, 5,670 MW in 2011, 6,095 MW in 2012, 7,525 MW in 2013 and 7980 MW in 2014 (compared to the 5,618 MW installed in 2009).

In this scenario, PV development in the EU will account for 64.7% of the estimated global market growth in the same period.

The second estimate (the scenario-driven scenario) foresees the installation of 52,080 MW, as follows: 8,715 MW in 2010, 8,405 MW in 2011, 9,690 MW in 2012, 11,795 MW in 2013 and 13,475 MW in 2014. In this case, European development will account for 51.2% of global development in the world, under the same scenario.

Regarding PV support policies, EPIA expects the follow-up or introduction of Feed-in Tariffs, accompanied by the removal of administrative barriers and a streamlining of grid-connection procedures.